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University of Houston-Victoria

Suggested Readings for Family Members

Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years
By Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger (Harper, 2003)

A book about the adolescent transition from high school to college, it includes information about the stages before college and throughout the college years. Explaining the parent and child points of view and examining their relationship, it’s a perfect book to read when your child is a junior in high school.

10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College
By William D. Coplin (2003)

College students need to develop real-world know-how in 10 crucial skill groups: work ethic, physical performance, speaking, writing, teamwork, influencing people, research, number-crunching, critical thinking and problem solving. The book shows that while a degree might get your foot in the door, having these skills will make you a valuable employee. The book also tackles the negatives of “helicopter parents,” whose well-meaning attempts are often counterproductive.

College Rules! How to Study, Survive and Succeed in College
By Sherrie L. Nist, Jodi Patrick Holschuh and Sherrie Nist (2002)

This book gives lots of advice for college students. Its suggestions on reading help students remember what they’ve learned. Written with lots of humor, this book is recommended for high school seniors or as a graduation gift.

For Parents Only: Tips for Surviving the Journey from Homeroom to Dorm Room
By Julia Johnson and Mary Kay Shanley (2002)

Children who get informed guidance from their parents are generally better able to focus on educational goals and become better students. This book gives moms and dads information and advice, covering everything from helping children avoid academic stress to selecting the college that best fits their interests and needs.

Hand-Me-Down Dreams: How Families Influence Our Career Paths and How we can Reclaim Them
By Mary H. Jacobsen, Sarah Silbert (Editor)

This is a helpful book to work through family dreams. We all know that hand-me-downs are often comfortable and easy to put on, but we are rarely happy in something that we don’t choose ourselves. If students lets their family choose their dreams, rather than use their own natural talents, interests and passions to guide their ultimate career choice, they are living someone else’s dream. In reading this book and participating in its exercises, the readers will be armed with the knowledge needed to find the motivation and courage to fulfill their own dreams and attain success on their terms.

College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to do About It
By Richard Kadison, M.D. and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo (2004)

“Parents, your job is not over yet.” This book urges parents to be aware, informed and watchful of the stresses their college student encounters. Some studies say the first eight weeks of college are the worst for stress. But according to the authors, parents must engage their college sons and daughters in open, adult-adult (yet non-intrusive) communications for all four or more college years. The book even advises parents to have a “crisis plan” ready in case their college-based children need emergency help. Parents should be cautioned about depression, drinking and other mental health issues. The book offers checklists of symptoms to look for and questions for parents to ask campus staff and administrators.

You’re on Your Own (But I’m Here if You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child during the College Years
By Marjorie Savage (Fireside, 2003)

This book helps parents identify the boundaries between necessary involvement and respect for their child’s independence. The author is a parent herself and empathizes with moms and dads. But as a student services professional, she understands kids and offers advice on wide-ranging issues:

  • How to cope with your family’s mood changes in the months before move-in day
  • Why students complain about the food but still manage to gain 15 pounds their first year
  • How to teach basic financial responsibility, including handling credit cards and school expenses
  • When parental intervention is critical

The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life
By Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt (Three Rivers Press, 2002)

This book has insightful perspective on the dynamics involved in “launching” your child into the college/adult years. The authors give the reader guidelines for the range of “normal” experiences and reassurance that the many issues are part of a developmental stage. A great book to read as your child begins the senior year but still valuable the summer between the senior year and college as it will help you reflect on previous experiences and prepare for the transition ahead.

Empty Nest … Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College
By Andrea Van Steenhouse (2002)

This book is written by a psychologist, and reading it will help parents who are sending a child off to college better understand their feelings, as well as their child’s feelings and behaviors. This book is ideal for parents who have a high school junior or senior, as it previews what is going on with the student as he makes the transition from high school to college student. The book gives support and tips on how to deal with the transition to “empty nest.” Especially helpful is a section on the effects upon any children still at home when an older sibling leaves for college.

Don’t Tell me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years
By Helen E. Johnson & Christine Schelhas-Miller (St. Martin’s Press, 2000)

This is one of the few good parenting books dealing with “almost adult” children not living at home. It shows that one of the hardest things a parent has to do is let go of active parenting (i.e., telling them what to do) and adopt a posture of mentoring with their college-age child. This book gives parents permission to stop worrying about letting their children make decisions which affect their lives. Using real scenarios and different approaches to responses, the book is a great resource dealing with sending your child to college. There also is great advice regarding the financial puzzles for first-time college parents.

50 Lessons for Parents Before They Start Writing Checks: The Truth About College
By Will S. Keim (1997)

The author offers food for thought about everything from choosing the right campus, to dirty laundry, to care packages. And while the emphasis is on the practical, this book never loses sight of the fact that the higher purpose of education is to build character.